On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again

On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again
© Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’ve got a lot of questions about UFOs now. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions: A looming floor fight over unemployment insurance is putting a spotlight on GOP divisions about how to replace the $600 per week federal benefit.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power The Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose Top GOP senators say Hunter Biden's work 'cast a shadow' over Obama Ukraine policy MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, noted that “there is a sizable number who think we shouldn't ... add on anything” above the unemployment benefit already provided by states.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney explains here.

The dynamic: 

  • Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are at loggerheads over how to replace the federal payment, with Democrats proposing an extension of the $600 amount through early next year and the Senate GOP proposal favoring a transition to a 70 percent wage match that would last through the end of the year.
  • But with McConnell saying “no progress is being made anywhere else” on the negotiations, Republicans are now eager to hold votes and show they are trying to advance legislation, even if it’s destined to fail.

The stalemate: The pressure on Republicans is building as talks continue to stall. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinCentrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline MORE told Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon that negotiators are no closer to a coronavirus relief deal than they were last week, blaming Democratic leadership for the continuing stalemate.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here.

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LEADING THE DAY

Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs: The lapse of enhanced jobless benefits amid a record-breaking crush of applications is exposing the flaws and shortcomings of how the U.S. provides unemployment insurance.

The economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic has torn holes in a federal safety net woven by individual systems for every state plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 

  • More than 30.2 million Americans were on some form of unemployment insurance as of mid-July, with the Labor Department reporting a growing number of new applications in subsequent weeks.
  • Short-staffed unemployment offices across the U.S. grappling with outdated technology and unprecedented demand would face challenges from implementing a scaled-down or more complicated approach to the weekly payments.

Economists and labor market experts also warn that any solution that emerges from the negotiations would take weeks, if not months, to get up and running, risking a potentially catastrophic fiscal cliff for tens of millions of U.S. households. I explain why here.

Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again: Nearly a third of the laid off workers who were able to go back to their previous jobs have been laid off again, according to a Cornell survey released Tuesday.

The survey was conducted by data firm RIWI from July 23 to Aug. 1, as a slew of states experiencing major COVID-19 outbreaks slammed the breaks on their economic reopenings and reimposed social distancing restrictions.

Danielle Goldfarb, head of global research at RIWI, said it was a sign that a second wave of layoffs was well underway.

"Official and private sectors jobs data have not yet picked up the significant share of American workers that have already been re-laid off,” said Goldfarb.

“Since the impact is actually worse in states that have not seen COVID surges, these data indicate a systemic problem and a much deeper recession than the mainstream data suggest," she said.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

Trump, Democrats both hold fears about US Postal Service, mail-in ballots: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is under intense partisan scrutiny from both President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE and Democratic lawmakers, who are warning the agency is ill-equipped to handle the tens of millions of mailed-in ballots expected to be sent for the November election.

Many states have moved to expand access to mail balloting in an effort to reduce in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to growing concerns that Postal Service delays could draw the vote count out for days or weeks past Election Day.

There are fears that ballots that are late, missing or disqualified for small irregularities will lead to lawsuits and questions about the integrity of the elections.

The Hill’s Jonathan Easley breaks it down here.

GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The future of popular social media platform TikTok in the U.S. was upended these past few days by a series of comments from President Trump about banning the app, making the Chinese-owned company the latest target of Trump’s tech war with China.
  • Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban chlorpyrifos and other pesticides that have sparked concerns among farmworker groups due to negative health effects.